acacia blossoms

acacia blossoms

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

the elephant and the leadwood tree




Selinda skies are a soft dappled grey. Delicate  clouds are spread like threadbare silk admitting bars of light.  An elephant bull stands quietly at the waterhole amid the leadwood trees blending perfectly with the scene.  Leadwood are ancient hardwood trees where spirits dwell.  Their wood is so dense it doesnt float but sinks like lead. They take forever to grow. Yet in their sculptural forms that are shaped by aeons of elephant browse, lightening strikes, fire and flood, there are folds and nooks where birds and tiny creatures live. Their leaves are small and clustered along branches bearing tough woody spikes - famous for puncturing tyres. I wouldn't want one of these spikes in my finger let alone my mouth; yet this elephant is in the mood for a  spiky meal.  He has been kicking at the roots of a small thorn bush whose spikes gleam white, lifting trunkfuls of the prickly prize into his mouth. He now moves slowly towards the leadwood tree - briefly casting a golden brown eye our way  with a flash  of dark amber.

He walks around the leadwood tree. The branches with leaves are high overhead. He tries to reach from the side nearest us. stretching up with trunk extended; climbing onto the roots, lifting one leg - the leaves barely tickle the end of his trunk.  He steps back. On the other side of the tree the leaves are lower, but the ground is also lower.  He moves around we see his trunk waving high on the other side, but leaves remaining tantalisingly out of reach. He tries from all angles and returns to the first.  He stretches again, this time he manages to get a hold on a small branch and down comes a mouthful of spikes and leaves.  He chews on this for a while. It is a calm scene. Obviously all this roughage is working on his stomach. He leaves some steaming compost on the leadwood's roots.

Moving around the tree again, stretching up, he tries but fails this time, coming to rest his head against the warm tree trunk for a minute or two. For the moment he looks like part of the tree; they match fissured bark to fissured hide, colour for colour, shape for shape. The elephant breaks away, runs an amber gaze our way again, and then turns to follow the leadwood trail into the gathering dusk.

19 comments:

Pink Bicycle Society said...

This is what I am talking about when I say your blog is just simply beautiful. It does in fact put me right there - with that elephant - not in a sleepy little town in NY State. THank you for giving all of a real look into your world. It's such a pleasure!
Maggie and Miss Maisy

Rob Inukshuk said...

Oh Val. You have once again enthralled me with your beautifully crafted words. You describe it so perfectly. Thank you for transporting me right into the heart of the bush for a few glorious moments.

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

What a wonderful post. I am not only there in the picture with this bull elephant, but I can smell him as well. As Rob says thank you for transporting me away to Africa for a visit. Diane

Bonnie said...

Your words lift me into the scene and I am enthralled, Val. Can't tell you how much I appreciate what you share here.

What a wonderful photograph! I love how he was keeping track of you as much as you were of him. What a sacred communion you have with these glorious creatures.

Lyn said...

Being the ellie lover that I am, I especially loved this post -- the words so wonderfully crafted and the picture -so powerful. But I always enjoy your posts and the little window into your neck of the world you share with us. Thanks Val.

pink dogwood said...

Love the picture, love the words - "steaming compost" that's hilarious :)

Janet said...

WOW - fantastic post - I could "see" and smell him without the pic you wrote it so beautifully!!!

Hope we meet up somewhere in Bots in the next days
xxxx

Janelle said...

aw i dig dead leadwoods...they still have life afterwards, hey? great descriptive writing val. xxx j

Susan Erickson said...

That was wonderful....I felt the weight of the elephant and tree so well. It slowed me down into the moment. Your life is fascinating and your photos simply transcending. ....almost like a tale from another time.....

Angela said...

Yes, exactly! Can`t add any more than say thank you for this picture of words, Val! It is like a webcam, we are right there.

Amanda said...

beautiful description, val - felt like i was there. the elephant does look like part of the tree~

leadwoods are where spirits dwell??......would love to know more about that -- maybe for another post?

xo

e said...

Lovely and thanks for visiting my blog. I am as well as I can be and I hope you are too.

Charl said...

Certainly one of the very special trees. I love their character. Even brought a very nice piece with me to the States to keep my roots intact. Thanks Val.

Val said...

dear all thanks for your lovely comments; internet time short at the moment but really appreciate all of you - more later, blog on xxxV

Reya Mellicker said...

What a beautiful word portrait. As always, Val, I feel like I'm standing right there, watching the scene unfold.

Leadwood trees - never even heard of them. So magical! Wow.

Kristin said...

Thanks, Val, for so exquisitely haring your world with us. Now and always.

True Blue Texan said...

Beautiful as always, Val. You make me want to visit your Africa. If only I was brave enough...

Pooch Morning Glory said...

wow, what a beautifully written post.
interesting to note how sometimes things just resonate ....you certainly have a way!
thank you
~laura

Spiny Marshmallow said...

lovely really great word visuals